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I wish to go on a San Diego Animal Adventure

  • Natallie interacting with the animals at the San Diego Zoo

  • Feeding the giraffe at the San Diego Zoo

  • Meeting the penguins at SeaWorld

  • Natallie and family at SeaWorld

“ This trip provided our family with one week of pure JOY ”


- Wish Mom Jessica

Adopted by: Sioux Falls Downtown Lions Club

Natallie, 3, of Sioux Falls wished to go on a San Diego Animal Adventure. Her wish came true in October. Natallie chose this wish because she loves animals, especially feeding and having up close encounters with them. She has been diagnosed with SCN2A mutation, which is a seizure disorder.

During her wish, Natallie had the opportunity to visit SeaWorld with her family! While she was there, Natallie got a behind the scenes tour. The next day, Natallie and her family visited Nurtured by Nature, which is a program that provides a once in a lifetime experience. Through this program, Natallie had the opportunity to be up close to a kangaroo and swim with an Asian Small-Clawed Otter! The next day, Natallie had the opportunity to visit a place where she feels most comfortable, the zoo. While Natallie was at the San Diego Zoo she got to see giraffes, elephants, and all different types of animals. Natallie and her family even had the opportunity to go the Safari Park where animals are in more of their natural habitat. Last but not least, Natallie and her family had the choice of going to the Birch Aquarium, where there are more than 60 habitats of fish from the waves of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters beyond. 

Natallie’s wish was magical.  She experienced places where she got to not only see, hear, and touch different types of animals, but she also got to be a part of their world through those senses! Natallie and her family have memories they will never forget! 

Her mom Jessica had this to say:

 “Our Make-A-Wish trip was amazing.  The experiences Make-A-Wish set up for us were once in a lifetime experiences that were way beyond our wildest dreams. 

I have been asked several times about which places I would go back and visit again, my response to this is, Make-A-Wish spoiled us and I feel no trip that we make to San Diego will ever come close to the incredible experiences they line up for us!

We had so many favorite parts on our trip!  The top five on our list were getting to pet and feed a kangaroo, feeding the giraffes, feeding the tortoise, swimming with the baby otters and I think the top of Natallie’s list was feeding the elephant!   As I type this I am still amazed by it all!

This trip means the world to our family.  Although Natallie will write her own story in life, we were told that she will probably have a shortened life because of her condition.  This trip provided our family with one whole week of pure JOY!  This is a trip that I know that all of us will NEVER forget!”

Natallie’s wish was made possible by Adopt-A-Wish Partner the Sioux Falls Downtown Lions Club. Special thanks to Make-A-Wish® San Diego for their assistance.


Our Make-A-Wish trip was amazing. The experiences Make-A-Wish set up for us were once in a lifetime experiences that were way beyond our wildest dreams. ”

— Wish Mom Jessica

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Make-A-Wish® South Dakota
1400 West 17th Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 335-8000
Toll Free (800) 640-9198
Make-A-Wish® South Dakota, Black Hills Office
14 Saint Joseph St. Suite 302
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 791-4500
Toll Free (800) 640-9198